We learned this week that the New York Knicks hired all-time great Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwan, to train most of their front court. Hakeem, one of the NBA’s most potent big man scorers off all time, can certainly add some offensive options for the Knicks big men.
With high profile stars such as Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, and Dwight Howard all flying to the Olajuwan’s Texas ranch to better their post games, the Knicks hope to improve their inside play as a whole. Amar’e Stoudemire had a head start this off season, as he flew to Texas to train with Olajuwan for two and a half weeks earlier this summer.
Stoudemire, the 100 million dollar player that lost a fight to a dangerous fire extinguisher, had a rather lack luster season before the notorious K.O. He may have the most upside in this opportunity to work with Olajuwan again. After Carmelo came to New York, Stoudemire’s production has steadily declined. Just a year after he reminded the basketball world that he is a dangerous forward, Stoudemire took a backseat to Anthony and his play suffered a tremendous hit. Stoudemire, primarily a face up scorer, can benefit greatly from the back-to-the-basket moves Olajuwan perfected throughout his career. If Amar’e can successfully implement Olajuwan’s teachings into his game, not only will it open the floor for the Knicks trigger happy shooters, but it will put Stoudemire to the line, where he can find his rhythm and, hopefully, bring the much ridiculed forward back to prominence while playing alongside the ball stopper that is Melo.
Carmelo Anthony, already one of the games most prolific scorers, can become something even greater with the help of Olajuwan. Anthony has a very dangerous post game as it is, but it can improve immensely with The Dream’s shake and bakes, up and unders and crafty misdirection. The real improvement the all-star small forward needs to pry from the NBA legend is the ability to stay in a high defensive mind set and trust his teammates to get the job done. Hakeem Olajuwan, who played with two all-stars on his championship Rocket teams, Clyde Drexler and Ralph Sampson, has experience with playing with egos and, more importantly, succeeding. If the Knicks future lay in the hands of Anthony, its imperative that he learn how to play a better style of team ball. The Knicks will only go as far as Carmelo and Amar’e can take them, one would hope they realize the more they play as a true one-two punch the more games and series’ they’ll win.
Perhaps the one player that can help the Knicks the most with the opportunity to gain an offensive repertoire is Tyson Chandler. The grizzled defensive leader of the team, Chandler lit a fire under the team and cemented himself as the backbone of the D. Having won a ring with the Mavericks a couple years ago, Chandler knows what it takes to win it all. His presence strengthens the team play on the defensive end, usually barking orders to his troops to secure victory. His offensive game, limited only to lobs and offensive rebounds can improve tremendously with Olajuwan’s training. If Chandler can adopt a solid post game it will give the Knicks an opportunity to take the load off Melo and Amar’e when they’re off the floor. A solid big man that can play both ends of the floor effectively is something of a rarity in today’s game. If Chandler can alter his game for the better and learn how to put the ball in the hoop, the Knicks have real potential to have one of the games most lethal front lines in the NBA.
There’s a lot of pressure on the Knicks to perform this season, and deservedly so. With all the moves and money the organization has put forth, its time to see some production. If the Knicks cant at least get out of the first round, there will be major decisions to make and moves to be made.
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